Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Stanley Tucci
Stanley Tucci
Screenshot: The Late Late Show

With people breaking quarantine to top up their Campari and brand-specific vermouth reserves after Stanley Tucci’s soothingly sexy Negroni Instagram tutorial earlier this week, The Late Late Show’s James Corden was first in the late-night line to beg for a sequel. Corden video-called the actor and primly expert home mixologist at his home in London, where, once again, Tucci was dressed in impeccable lockdown casual for the appointment, although he responded to Corden’s sartorial praise with the Jack Donaghy-esque admonition, “I feel like one should always look good, particularly after 5 o’clock.” And, for all you forearm enthusiasts out there, thankfully that means Tucci’s guns were once more on full display under carefully rolled sleeves. You are welcome.

Fairly gasping at Corden’s revelation that the host has never drunk a single martini in his life, Tucci immediately—but languorously—set about remote-rectifying that from the home bar he shares with lucky wife Felicity Blunt (recipient of the previously mentioned, teasingly delayed Negroni.) With the slight fisheye effect of a cellphone camera doing his already admired forearms unnecessary favors, Tucci dipped into his drinks cabinet to procure the deceptively simple classic ingredients. Vermouth and ice, stirred. (Shush, Bond, Mr. Tucci is talking.) Then, straining away all but the essence of the vermouth clinging to the ice, two full shots of fine vodka, preferably decanted beforehand. Stir and let sit. Relax. Make eye contact. Then stir again. Strain. Lemon peel rubbed around the rim of a martini glass, then dunked into the icy liquid. And then . . .

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Now what is it about the Tucci method that makes this nightly ritual so simultaneously soothing and thirst-provoking? Maybe it’s his response to Corden asking how often he does this ritual for himself and his wife, stating matter-of-factly, “At 5 o’clock, every night,” and giving Corden a dead-serious, “Yes,” when Corden responds with admiring incredulity. Perhaps it’s his practiced but unhurried familiarity with every step, or the air of superior withholding with which he makes Corden, his wife, and the world wait for the resulting cocktail. Maybe there are some lingering Big Night vibes in the air as he works. The glasses don’t hurt. And even if Corden’s remotely prepared mirror martini doesn’t look quite as elegant as Tucci’s once their pair finally are given Tucci’s green light to drink, the Tucci method is sure to be emulated by homebound couples in need of a bracing, elegantly prepared stiff one around five every day now. Cheers.

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Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.

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